Heavens to Betsy or Ivanhoe
The big city is on fire but not here.
Why must we live like bears
when we could be as proud as peacocks?
We sleep too much. We play dead.
Hibernating is for the birds. Paris is on fire
but here in Baltimore, people sleep.
You can tell from their toenails and their eyelids
that the WASPS are dead. Once outlandish,
just think of Bunker Hill, now they’re
blasé. Once outrageous, these days they shop. When
bored, they flirt. On holidays, they head for Iceland
as their capital burns.
They prefer pomegranates and pistachios to
potatoes and onions. They still listen to Herb Albert.
They pay to hear Jingle Bells in underground bunkers.
They stopped going to the theatre after seeing “Oh!
Calcutta!” The wives crave the pirouette; the husbands,
Hullaballoo, preferably in French.
They remember the Can-Can in Las Vegas. They miss
Mollie Brown. They’ve never been to Kansas but they
look down on women who wear kitchen curtains that don’t
fit. Sophistication means appearing to be foreign.
They are ashamed to be American. In Paris, everybody
wants to be French. They are ready to burn.
Full poem can be viewed at Modern Literature.